I’m a Mess

Back when we lived in Little Rock, my friend Vivian used an expression I learned to love. She’d use it to describe some kid or parent who was so f**ked up that they were actually fun. You know the type: hyperactive AND egocentric AND always late AND never follows directions AND too talkative AND always grumpy.  On and on.   The expression is she/he is “a mess.”

I was in the dressing room last weekend shopping for a new swimsuit. I completely busted out the last one after just a few months. I’m blaming the chlorine. It can’t be that I’ve put on 4 pounds around my hips.

Trying on a tight fitting garment at my age is a discouraging and even a brave thing to do. What made it even worse was it was the time of day when, shall we say, my body is at its worst: late afternoon. Everything is ultra loose. Muscles are relaxed. Lunch has been eaten and my pear shaped form is at its most unflattering. It’s a body only a mother could love and my mother is dead.

This dressing room had lights on both sides of the full-length mirror. I could see every age spot, red spot, skin tag, errant whisker, varicose vein, scar, and gray hair.

Here I was alone in front of my real, unadorned, nearly naked body.  I decided to do a checklist starting at the bottom:

  • The feet. I have bunions. They make dents in my shoes. I have to wear flats with a “big toe box” which is odd because my big toe is where my other toes should reside.

    These toes should be covered

  • The heel. I have a bone growing out of my left heel. I must wear a really attractive padded sock and inserts when I go walking. This really does dress up an evening outfit. Try it sometime.
  • The knees. I can’t squat any more. If I’m careful I can get down to the floor and get back up if I stick my butt up in the air. Groaning must accompany these moves.  The doc says I have a good 5-10 years before knee replacement. Good news!
  • The hip. I have arthritis in there. When I do get down to the floor and try to sit Indian style, I have one knee up under my chin.  It’s frozen there. Needless to say, they can’t use me for the cover of Yoga magazine.
  • The waist. What waist?
  • The belly.  Now here I really excel. I am world class. I work on this daily by thinking about doing sit ups but not doing them, eating lots of desserts, and trying to accept me for “who I am.”  Big is beautiful.
  • The bust. What bust?
  • The face. One of my former students used to doodle and draw cartoons. Naturally, he drew me. I saw my face as he saw it- all wrinkles and sags. He tried to comfort me by saying, “That’s okay Mrs. Patterson. It’s nothing that a little Oil of Olay won’t fix.”  I let him live.
  • The hair. I’ve let it go gray. But what color is it anyway? At least it is still thick and wavy. At least I HAVE hair.

Now that is just the OUTSIDE of me. I haven’t even begun to tell you about my hernia, heartburn, blood pressure, and floaters in my eyes. Be thankful I don’t blog about my tinnitus, bridgework, weak shoulder, or “spongy kidney.”

Now you can see why Vivian would agree. I’m a mess.

By now you are thinking that this is too much information. Actually you began to think this back at “the feet.” Be honest. But be warned that THIS CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.  Start now living a clean and honest life. Stop drinking coffee and red wine to get your teeth yellow like me. Desist from eating chocolate and sweets that go straight to your thighs. Get to the gym and lift those weights religiously. Stay out of the sun. Brush three times a day. Wine, beer, booze? Erase those from your memory. No fried food, no bread, no pasta, nor bacon nor pork rinds. Live on a mountaintop, avoid people, and ditch your annoying family. Meditate, stretch, and get plenty of sleep.

And, above all else, pick genetically perfect parents.


3 responses to “I’m a Mess”

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  1. Vivian Blair says:

    Girl, you may be a mess, but you’re a GOOD mess! I love you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

  2. Judy says:

    A regular prayer that my somewhat irreverent (both to God and my mother) would say is, “Bless this mess.” On reading this, I can only echo it!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Karen, Karen, Karen, at least you can still see to read this.

    And don’t forget…if you can still make love, life isn’t so bad after all!